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Discussion on: Coding Without Google

meonlol profile image

The problem for me or not the distractions, but the fact that the information is so fleeting when you look it up on the web. I always feel a little sting of shame when I have a basic problem I know I've solved before, but have to look it up on the web again because I forgot the syntax. This might even happen multiple times, especially when the answer can be copy-pasted from stack overflow directly.

I recently read as a sidenote somewhere that inexperienced developers simply copy paste stuff from stack overflow without understanding it, and I had to admit that even though I consider myself quite experienced, I do not even try to read the code most of the time. As a result I started to try to at least read and understand the code I was copy-pasting and that has helped me to learn more from googling for answers.

Where the internet has helped improve my coding skills, was when I started to read open source source code.

So as a whole, I think the Internet has helped me improve on some levels, made me lazy on others, and sometimes it's the way I use it that makes the difference between help and hindrance.

mathieuhalley profile image
Mathieu Halley

One thing that's helped me when StackOverflow has the perfect piece of code, is to force myself to manually transcribe it instead of just using copy-paste. I have to pay more attention to how the code actually works and I get a more immediate opportunity to customise it to the project I'm working on.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

If you paste code in without understanding it, how will you maintain it when you have to make a change in a couple of months? How do you know it doesn't have bugs, or a condition which will have a knock-on effect in your program?

I cannot fathom why anyone would use foreign code like this when it's not at least black boxed into its own library.

falansari profile image

I have a makeshift rule that "I will not reuse code I do not understand". If I'm going to copy-paste something, it's going to be after I spend an extensive time actually learning and understanding exactly what it's doing. It made life hard at the beginning. Then my own knowledge started to grow at a very accelerating rate compared to before, along with the fact that debugging issues became a breeze because I immediately know what's wrong. Even if not immediately because of a more complex issue, it's still actually solvable in a much more timely fashion!

It took me two years, three distinctly different projects and technology stacks, and countless tutorials + reading + Stack Overflow visits to finally get to this stage. Just keep at it, it's definitely worth it in the end.